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Comox Valley Regional District considering more bus routes
The Comox Valley Regional District hopes to continue building ridership by providing additional bus routes throughout the Valley.
About 1,700 additional hours are available to expand the local transit system. Potential options, which have been analyzed by BC Transit and discussed by the transit management advisory committee, are as follows:
• Improved service to Cumberland to access areas of new development;
• An additional run of the No. 12 North Valley Connector at about 5:30 p.m. to meet the bus from Campbell River;
• A new Courtenay-Comox express route;
• A summer beach bus to access Goose Spit and Kye Bay.
"There has been enormous increase in ridership this year," Geoff Garbutt, manager of strategic and long-range planning, said at last week's committee of the whole meeting.
Comox director Patti Fletcher questioned if servicing needs have been addressed at St. Joseph's Hospital and at CFB Comox. Garbutt said the district is looking at reconfiguring CFB routes with respect to shifts at the base.
While BC Transit is introducing mid-size buses, Garbutt said the district needs multi-service vehicles to operate at peak times, in response to Comox director Paul Ives' question about using smaller buses.
In other transit news, the City of Courtenay has committed to three shelters this year, under the provincial transit shelter program.
In addition, the district received positive feedback about a special event pilot program that offered free bus service during statutory holidays in the summer.
Empire Days, for instance, attracted 165 users on the No. 2 Cumberland route, which typically draws 40 to 60 passengers on the same day. The modified Canada Day and Nautical Days service had 358 and 374 passengers respectively.
A typical system-wide ridership averages about 1,200 users for a Saturday or Sunday.
At its September meeting, the committee supported holding a similar special event program next year.